Jack’s a writer who uses a software development environment to write. He’s a big Geany fan and he reminds us that tools aren’t about what they’re supposed to do so much as they’re about how we choose to use them. Jack is also a big Cinnamon desktop fan. Cinnamon doesn’t come up a lot around here, so it’s always nice to see it getting some attention (even though I can’t tell the difference between Cinnamon and Mate!).
- Who are you, and what do you do?
I am Jack M. Germain. I am a technology writer for the ECT News Network. I write software reviews and articles about the role of open source technology in business, industry, and education for TechNewsWorld, The E-Commerce Times, LinuxInsider, and CRMBuyer.
Why do you use Linux?
I switched to the Linux operating system many years ago to focus on a better computing experience. I wanted an OS that was not locked into a proprietary spiral that subjected me to constantly poor performance and more costly hardware. Linux lets me use my computers without worrying about virus and malware intrusions. Linux frees me from constantly having to reboot and recover from glitches. It is a much more pleasant computing experience. Linux just works.
What distribution do you run on your main desktop/laptop?
I run Linux Mint 17 on my main desktop and my primary laptop computers. I run Ubuntu 14.04 on my secondary work laptop. On an older laptop, I run the SolydX distro. I also have Puppy Linux installed on a USB drive that I use on all of my computers for a change of pace and whenever I work on-site using someone else’s computer. Linux lets me work my way with my default software and desktop settings wherever I am.
What desktop environment do you use and why do you use it?
I write a weekly column for LinuxInsider that spotlights a software product. I focus on dozens of Linux distros and desktop environments in this column. No matter how many desktop variations I try, I always depend on what the Cinnamon desktop provides. Its superb access to icons on the bottom panel and slide-out Favorites Bar makes scrolling through the Main Menu a rarity. The panel applets and access to virtual workspaces, plus the animation options, are far superior to configurations found in other desktop environments.
My second favorite desktop environment is Xfce. It defies the traditional meaning of lightweight. It may lack some of the animation and eye candy of Cinnamon, but it makes up for that with its extensive configurability.
What one piece of software do you depend upon with this distribution? Why is it so important?
My entire productivity as a writer is rooted in the Geany IDE Text Editor. Much of my wordsmithing involves discussing ideas and explaining technology concepts and how stuff works. I rarely have to print out polished glossy pages with multi-color graphics. So for me, a full-function text editor is my primary work tool. Geany has all the bells and whistles I need to create and edit words that flow on a plain page. Its split screen and multi-tab features let me arrange my notes, working drafts and final versions all in one place. It is very configurable and has dozens of plug-in feature extensions available. I have never needed a writing and editing feature that Geany did not have.
What kind of hardware do you run this setup on?
The real beauty of the Linux OS is that it can handle low-powered through well-endowed hardware options. My primary desktop and laptop are similarly configured and powered so I do not have to adjust my work routine for the computer I use.
For example, the desktop has a Quad-core Intel i5 processors and 8GB RAM. The laptop has a Dual-core Intel i5 processor. Hard drive space is less of an issue these days since I rely on large capacity USB thumb drives and cloud storage. Even so, both computers have in excess of 500GB of space. The desktop sports Intel Xeon E3-1200 4th Generation graphics. The laptop has 2nd Generation Intel Core Processor Integrated graphics.
Will you share a screenshot of your desktop?
Interview conducted August 19, 2014